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2006, dir. David R. Ellis
105 min., Rated R.
Starring: Samuel M.F. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, and 450 beautiful snakes.

Review by Justin Patterson

Life got overwhelming, lately. I was about to snap. Thankfully, that's what friends are for. I had somehow managed to completely miss out on all of the internet hype for this movie. When Chris asked me if I wanted to see something called Snakes On a Plane, I had no idea what he was talking about. I just said, "Oh, hell yes!"

Good call on my part. Enough patting my judgement on the back, though. It's time for previews.

Beerfest - The guys from Broken Lizard made a movie about the Olympics/Fight Club of beer drinking. Holy shit. Must see this. Maybe, after Club Dread, they managed to get their groove back.
Jackass: Number Two - Yes. God, yes. HELL, yes! Of all of the shit that has been cranked out in the last ten years, this is the shit that deserves a sequel! It's nice to know that movie star Johnny Knoxville hasn't forgotten his roots.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning - R. Lee Ermey as the patriarch of the family that spawned Leatherface? Yep. I'm all over that.
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny - I know that there's probably a plot. I don't care. I wish I could start smoking weed JUST SO THAT I COULD BE HIGH AS A KITE AND WATCH THIS MOVIE. That is all.

Okay. That's done.

This guy is apparently not ready for hot snake on plane action.

Do you love bad films? Do you ever catch yourself watching a Michael Dudikoff film on the SuperStation at two in the morning, only finding yourself in the position of having to defend bad movie watching to your friends? A Blacksploitation fan, perhaps? Maybe you just think that disaster films rock, and that Bill Paxton got cheated out of his Oscar back when Twister came out?

This is for you.

The premise is actually kind of clever. A dude in Hawaii witnesses a murder that is committed by a really nasty, connected guy. The FBI wants to bring the witness to L.A. to testify against said bad guy. The bad guys want to stop this from happening. The know that they can't get guns, explosives, shoe bombs, knives, shampoo or mouthwash onto the plane. What they do is get crates loaded with deadly snakes from all over the world into the cargo hold. Once the plane hits 30,000 feet, the doors spring open. All of the leis on board have been coated with pheromones, so that all of the snakes are incredibly aggressive. The snakes then proceed to bite, choke, molest and otherwise mistreat everyone that they can get to.

How cool is that?!

This movie proudly pays homage to all of the great, horrible films of the genre that have come before it.

First off, lemme talk about Sam Jackson. A lot of Hollywood stars would have dropped this project like a hot rock. Sam, on the other hand, reveled in it. From the first moment that you see him show up - almost Terminator-esqe, saying "Do as I say and you'll live" - it was obvious that this man was doing something that he enjoyed. He knows that it's campy. He knows that it's playing on every fear that people have about snakes. He knows that it's below his abilities as a thespian. He just really digs it, and that shows through in the movie.

There's one piece of internet lore that tells the story best. Sam's agent told the production company that they had to come up with a better name for the movie, or Jackson would split. Sam, once he heard that, said that he would drop the project if they did change the name!

What do we get for our money? Let's see. Horror film rules applying, the couple that goes for the Mile High club gets it first. That's a rule. Catch is, they get it while they're applying for membership. Plus, there are some remarkable headlights on display, if you dig that kind of thing. Actually, if you're watching this movie, you are de facto into that kind of thing, so I apologize for stating the obvious. Along the vein of preying on our worst snake fears, another guy gets it while urinating in the lavatory. You can guess where he was bitten. There are snakes crawling up pant legs, down blouses, climbing over shoulders and dropping from the overhead compartments.

There is one other piece of evidence that shows how in touch the producers were with the target audience. Photography was wrapped up in September of 2005. Folks on the internet heard that it was going to be a PG-13 film and raised hell. The producers listened and photography resumed, wrapping again in January 2006. This added the most notable line of the film, and one that really sums up the feeling of the whole thing. Samuel L. Jackson, pistol in hand, declares "I have had it with these motherfuckin snakes on this motherfuckin plane!" The crowd went nuts. They should. The whole thing was JUST FOR THEM.

So, if you love movies that realize they are bad but continue forging boldly ahead, this is for you. If you have a wuss of a buddy who is scared of snakes, this is for you. If you just like bad disaster films and have some time to kill, this is for you. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's fun, it's gory, it's mostly fast-paced, and it's a good way to kill some time.

That's it, folks. Believe the hype, and go check it out while it's still on the big screen.

Jackie Muthafuckin' Brown
The Muthafuckin' Incredibles
Star Muthafuckin' Wars: Episode Muthafuckin' One


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